Multinationals show growing interest in cloud computing, survey reveals

Multinational corporations have significantly increased their take-up of cloud services over the past year, research by analyst firm Ovum reveals.

Multinational corporations have significantly increased their take-up of cloud services over the past year, research by analyst firm Ovum reveals.

Some 45% of multinationals are using cloud for at least some elements of their IT services, up from 24% in 2010, according to a survey of 110 multinationals.

The research, commissioned by Cable & Wireless, shows that larger companies are beginning to follow the lead of small and medium-sized companies by moving IT resources into the cloud.

Around half the multinationals questioned are using the cloud for applications including data back-up and storage, communications services, web hosting, corporate IT systems, networking or applications software.

"We believe the majority of multinationals are currently between the early and adolescent adoption phases of cloud-based services," said Evan Kirchheimer, practice leader for enterprise services at Ovum.

Tailored to requirements

Multinationals in Asia Pacific have shown the greatest interest in cloud. Some 63% have cloud operations across all service sectors - networking, communications, applications, corporate IT systems, data management, security and back-up.

Different business sectors are exploiting the cloud in different ways, the research reveals. Professional services companies are using the cloud for customer resource management (CRM), while those in finance and insurance are emphasising document management. Manufacturers are more interested in CRM and messaging.

Some 75% of multinationals believe the ability to scale capacity and match it to fluctuating demand is the main benefit of the cloud. Over 70% cite faster provisioning for employees, while cost transparency is a benefit cited by 24% of multinationals.

Barriers to adoption

The biggest barrier to cloud services are concerns over security and data governance, and the risks of the public internet, the research shows. Professional services companies are most concerned about service level agreements offered in the cloud.

Web-based companies, such as Amazon and Google, are the most credible suppliers for multinationals, followed by IT service providers and systems integrators, such as Accenture and IBM. Telcos are regarded as credible suppliers by 50% of the organisations questioned, up from 37% in 2010.

According to Ovum, multinationals face significant barriers adapting to cloud. Moving from a licensing contract to a utility pricing model can be particularly challenging, it says.

"Greater adoption is dependent on the resolution of security, governance and reliability, and once these concerns are addressed through standardised, tested offers from service providers, more large enterprise will feel comfortable positioning cloud as a preferred procurement option," said Kirchheimer.

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